Sourdough: A Guide to Everything you Need to Know

Cultivating Herbal Friendships
Since I first started learning about health and nutrition, one of the first things I wanted to make was sourdough bread. I thought, if I only had my very own sourdough starter, I could make wholesome bread (and other things!) for my family.

But I was hesitant.

Sourdough: A guide to everything you need to know // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

To be honest, I tend to kill things. Not noisy things like children and pets who can complain loudly when I don’t take proper care of them… but quiet things. Like goldfish and houseplants and, I assumed, sourdough starters.

It took me a while (like almost five years) but I’m there now. Sort of.

Why Sourdough?

According to Nourishing Traditions:

All grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound) in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.

In other words, the modern recommendation that everyone go around eating whole wheat everything is actually a really bad piece of advice that can lead to a whole bunch of problems. Of course, eating a lot of white flour isn’t really a good idea either.

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So… what is a person to do?

You simply have to do what your great-grandparents did: Prepare your grains before you eat them, either by sprouting them (basically turning them into little vegetables), soaking them (overnight in an acidic medium), or by souring them–by choosing a slow-rise recipe from a fermented starter.

To get us started (pun totally intended) I have rounded up a bunch of posts about sourdough from my friends over at the Homestead Bloggers Network, and some of my other favorite bloggers.

How to get Started

You need a starter. Each starter is unique and will have it’s own special yeasts and bacteria in it, resulting in its own unique flavor–ranging from the super-sour San Francisco sourdough bread, to those that are much more mild. Some starters have been handed down from generation to generation and are hundreds of years old!

(Ha! I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to hand on my starter to myself of next month, never mind my grandkids!)

If you’re not fortunate enough to be gifted an heirloom starter, ask around–I’m betting you know someone who has one. And since the damn things multiply like crazy, she or he will probably be thrilled to share!

Sourdough Starter

This is Harry Potter. I got him from a friend.

And, yes, I named my sourdough starter. It wasn’t my idea; I got the idea from this book. And I agree, it is much harder–though hardly impossible–to kill something with a name that you view as a pet. Why Harry Potter? Well, why not? And besides, as we all know, Harry Potter is notoriously difficult to kill and even prone to resurrecting himself–I thought it might be helpful.

If you aren’t lucky enough to know someone with a starter, you can buy one.

This brand comes highly recommended:

You can also, literally start from scratch and catch your very own starter!

Starting a Sourdough Starter for Yourself fromThe Homesteading Hippy

Baking with Sourdough

How to Make Sourdough Bread–The Easy Way fromSchneider Peeps

Sourdough Bread Baking from a Beginner from Timber Creek Farm

Simple, Easy Sourdough Bread from Scratch from The Farmer’s Lamp

Easy Sourdough Yeast Bread for the Bread Machine from The Farmer’s Lamp

No Kneed Sourdough Bread from Grow Forage Cook Ferment

Sourdough–Quicker from Homesteading on Grace

sourdough // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

photo complements of Grow Forage Cook Ferment; used with permission

Troubleshooting: How to Keep Yourself from Messing Up and What to do if you Already Have

The Farmer’s Lamp Answers Your Sourdough Questions from this is a lovely podcast from (you guessed it!) The Farmer’s Lamp

6 Tips to Prevent “Sour” Sourdough from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS

Resurrecting the Sourdough Barm from Homesteading on Grace

Beyond Bread

Sourdough Breakfast Pitas from The Homestead Lady

Starting with Sourdough: Breakfast Cake from Hobby Farms

Sugar Free Cookies for Breakfast from The Homestead Lady

Sourdough Pan…Cake from Homesteading on Grace

Traditional Sourdough Pancakes from Nourished Kitchen

Sourdough Crepes from Homesteading on Grace

Sourdough English Muffins from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS

Sourdough Pizza Crust from The Homesteading Hippy

Sourdough Tortillas from Grow Forage Cook Ferment

Cheesy Garlic Sourdough Crackers from Common Sense Homesteading

Pizza Flavored Whole Wheat Sourdough Crackers from Common Sense Homesteading — These would make a fabulous substitute for, say, goldfish crackers, if you happen to have a kid who views the lack of goldfish crackers in her lunchbox as notoriously unfair and possible child abuse. Just sayin’. 😉

Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting from The Homesteading Hippy

Sourdough Brownies from Common Sense Homesteading

Sourdough Cookies from Common Sense Homesteading

More Resources

70+ Sourdough Recipes from Montana Homesteader

Simply Sourdough: The Ultimate Recipe Round Up from The 104 Homestead

Have you ever tried making sourdough bread? How did it work out for you?

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Sourdough // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

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